Oct 08, 2017: Money can do any harmful thing. Yes, now it seems that one can buy lethal weapons as easily as he buys his bread and butter from a store and the recent las vegas massacre proves this. How many have such violent cases happened in a couple of years? They are countless. They all have instantly extinguished the lives of endless innocent people. Sometimes Mississippi, Newtown, Texas, Las Vegas, and sometimes France, Kuwait, Manchester, Landon Bridge, Lahore…! In each case, if we go deeper, the big boss America is directly or indirectly responsible.
Well, as to the rise of gun culture in the USA, I totally blame its Government. The very recent Las Vegas massacre shocked the entire the world. How can the US Government allow Tom, Dick, and Harry to purchase the weapons? The police have found a stockpile of arsenal from the possession of perpetrator Stephen Paddock who killed 59 people, leaving 527 wounded. How did he procure this all deadly stuff? And what had stopped the government from totally banning gun selling in any manners in the wake of the cruel instances of shootings at various spots? Small kids are shooting themselves, schoolboys shooting their classmates for fun, sons gunning down fathers and mothers in a rage, wives shooting their hubbies over petty issues.
This is how the most advanced country in the world is now virtually reeling from a stream of horrific tragedies. Are not the leaders and business houses insanely stupid who all have been resisting the gun control legislation? They have not realized yet the “evil” also roars from gun barrels. Bluntly speaking, can these leaders give sharp daggers to their own kids? It is exactly like that. People may have grown up but their minds are cluttered with gory thoughts and sadism. And, the results are nowhere to make the world shudder with fear and anguish.
One wonders, how much more such dangerous tragedies should strike the mankind before the leaders come to sense and then act sensibly. No one should gamble with the life of the innocent. Explosive America cannot hit the jackpot for the humanity.
Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali
Virginia, November 26, 2017: Six weeks after arriving in the United States, Hassan Abduraheem takes a seat in the back pew of Tar Wallet Baptist Church. Tucked into the woods along a country road in rural Virginia, the church holds about 50 worshippers.
On this cold November Sunday, Abduraheem and his family of eight noticeably increase the congregation’s size. They do their best to follow the unfamiliar English of the old Baptist hymns, which are very familiar to their new neighbors. And they share the hymns from their former home — Sudan.
Standing in a single line in front of the altar, the family fills the church with Arabic song.
“Unbelievable,” Abduraheem says repeatedly, as he describes his journey from a crowded prison cell in Sudan to a fixed-up house on the farm of his new pastor. “Unbelievable” seems like the only word that could describe the turn his life took, thanks to a Facebook post and a U.S. congressman.
Abduraheem’s work as a former pastor is not outlawed in his native Sudan, but Christians are a minority in a diverse country that has suffered through multiple civil wars. According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, there has been “an escalation in the Sudanese government’s persecution of Christians,” since the 2011 secession of South Sudan.
Abduraheem says his work was spreading the gospel; the Sudanese government accused him of espionage, and he was detained along with two other pastors in December 2015.
“The first day when they took us to the prison, they beat us,” he says softly.
Abduraheem was shifted from prison to prison. For five months, he wore the same clothes he was wearing when he was arrested. His eyes became damaged from the harsh prison light. Yet, despite constant interrogations, just two meals of beans a day and a tiny cell with barely enough room to sleep, he says the worst part of prison was not knowing.
“It was a very hard time for me, thinking of my family, because I [didn’t] know anything about them,” he told VOA in his first media interview in the United States.
But even after numerous delays to his trial and an eventual 12-year prison sentence, he couldn’t shake a sense of faith.
“No one told me, but I had the peace that something [was] going [on] outside,” Abduraheem says.
An enormous effort
Far away from Sudan, a Facebook post telling Abduraheem’s story reached just the right person.
“I didn’t know any better, so I got in my car and drove to the Sudanese Embassy and asked to speak with the ambassador,” Representative Tom Garrett, a Republican in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, told VOA. Garrett first saw the story on the Facebook page for Voice of the Martyrs, a Christian organization whose African regional director was imprisoned with Abduraheem.
It was the first time a member of Congress had spoken to the Sudanese government in 10 years, according to Garrett’s office.
After thousands of messages, hundreds of work hours and a trip to Sudan, Garrett collaborated with nongovernmental organizations to free Abduraheem in May 2017. The congressman also worked to secure humanitarian parole status to bring the pastor and his family to the United States.
“I commend the Sudanese government to the extent they were willing to acknowledge that mistakes have been made in the past, and there’s a need to reassess how religious minorities are treated. That’s progress,” says Garrett, a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee.
It’s also an opportunity to advance the relationship between the United States and Sudan, he adds.
“As a result of sanctions dating back to the nineties, Sudan is eager to distance itself from a dark past,” he said in a statement.
Building a new life
Abduraheem and his family visited the congressman in Washington, D.C., last month to see where their life in the U.S. became possible. While it was their first time in the American city, it also was a new experience for their congressman.
“You can love a bill, you can believe in a bill, you can advocate on behalf of a bill, but you can’t say a prayer with a bill, have dinner with a bill, shake hands with a bill. It was sort of surreal,” Garrett says of meeting Abduraheem at the airport.
Five churches in Garrett’s district banded together to fix up a home for the family, launching a GoFundMe page to pay for food, clothing and other expenses while the family waits for work authorizations. In the meantime, family members have been adjusting to the incredible change of leaving Sudan to build a life in America.
For them, everything is new — from discovering constant running hot water to buying winter coats for the snow they will soon see for the first time. But those immense changes are grounded by Abduraheem’s certainty.
“Even though it is hard for us to leave our country, I think it is also better,” Abduraheem says of his family. “I don’t want them to grow there and go through a lot of difficulties like I went through it. Here, I know they can have a chance.” (VOA)
Washington, Nov 23: The US government said on Wednesday that abuses directed at the Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar amount to ethnic cleansing.
“After a careful and thorough analysis of available facts, it is clear that the situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement, Efe news agency reported.
Despite expressing concern about the plight of the Rohingya, Washington has declined until now to ascribe their suffering to a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing.
The statement follows a visit last week to Myanmar by Tillerson, who met with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and the head of the armed forces, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.
The country’s “government and security forces must respect the human rights of all persons within its borders, and hold accountable those who fail to do so,” the secretary said Wednesday.
“The United States continues to support a credible, independent investigation to further determine all facts on the ground to aid in these processes of accountability,” he said.
More than 600,000 Rohingyas have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a military operation against the mainly Muslim minority group following the deaths of a dozen members of the security forces in Aug. 25 attacks by a group calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.
State Department officials said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters that President Donald Trump’s administration is weighing the idea of imposing sanctions on specific individuals in Myanmar found responsible for what they described as “organised and planned” ethnic cleansing.
Senior officials of Myanmar and Bangladesh began talks Wednesday on a plan to repatriate the roughly 622,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladeshi territory.
In a report presented Tuesday in Bangkok, Amnesty International accused Myanmar of subjecting the Rohingya to a system of “institutional” discrimination tantamount to apartheid. (IANS)
Thanksgiving Day. The name stands for itself as the day to give thanks and is celebrated as a national holiday in many countries like United States of America, Canada, Netherlands, Philippines, Grenada, Liberia while similarly named festival exists in Germany, Japan, and United Kingdom.
Thanksgiving holiday remains a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.
The official date for the American Thanksgiving that exists today was set by President Roosevelt to be on the fourth Thursday in November instead of the last Thursday in November as decided by President Lincoln as thanksgiving date.
But their thanksgiving is surrounded by a debate over the nation’s first celebrations and the two places embroiled in this debate are New England and Virginia as both the places provide certain proofs of being the spot for nation’s first celebrations for Thanksgiving.
Canadian Thanksgiving tradition is celebrated in the true spirit of giving thanks at the close of the harvest season. It is believed that due to the geographical differences from the USA, Canada’s Thanksgiving arrives on the second Monday in October as that is the close of their harvest season.
But in countries like Liberia, Netherlands, and Grenada, it is not just a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.
In Liberia, Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated to mark the freedom from black slavery by the U.S.A. The Thanksgiving day’s date remains on the first Thursday of November and has been a tradition since 1820.
Netherlands celebrate thanksgiving to mark to commemorate the Pilgrims who had migrated and became residents of the city of Leiden and died at Pieterskerk. To commemorate the hospitality, the thanksgiving, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as the same as American Thanksgiving Day’s morning.
But there are some countries like the Philippines where the tradition of Thanksgiving only arrived with the Americans due to it being an American colony in the early 20th century but the tradition of Thanksgiving there had seemed to die down.
The American Thanksgiving seems to dominate the Thanksgiving menu when it comes to this holiday. Their famous turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pies, mashed potatoes, and yams are signature dishes related to this day.
Not only food, American Thanksgiving has also made Black Friday, an informal day following the Thanksgiving Day to mark the beginning of their country’s Christmas season sales and it has been in the history books since 1952 such that it has become a tradition of its own now.
Thanksgiving Day remains an occasion for many families to get back together and celebrate this holiday in the spirit of one while giving the rise to the excitement of upcoming Christmas also which remains barely a month away from Thanksgiving day.
Samridhi Nain is a student of Philosophy (Hons.) from University of Delhi.